Recovering alcoholics can meet here

Call it AA without a religious component.

A secular based alcohol recovery program has started up in Kelowna.

Vann Hill, himself a recovering alcoholic, has started up the program which meets every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in the Okanagan Pride Centre at 1476 Water Street.

"It serves the purpose, we hope, of giving an option or alternative to traditional '12 Step higher power' based programs where the ultimate authority would be a loving God as the member understands him as in AA," says Hill of the program.

"Our ultimate authority is science and reason. We believe the solution to addiction lies within each individual rather than without."

The first meeting was held last Tuesday night, and while only two people attended, Hill says it was a success.

"I thought it was really good because it opened the conversation right up. We could talk about so many other things than just narrowly focusing on what God is doing or can do for us,": says Hill.

"We were talking about diet, nutrition, exercise, meditation and other sorts of possibilities for getting well."

Hill, who says he has been sober on and off for six and a half years with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous says he's not bashing the traditional 12 Step method but believes it narrows the focus of discussing anything outside of the religious scope.

"AA gave me my start but over time I have developed different questions and decided it was time people had a choice."

He says he is in the process of learning about SMART Recovery (Self Management Recovery Training), a US based secular addiction program.

"I will be learning that program and following that to give us more structure and stability and access to the publications."

Hill says he just wants to offer an alternative - another option for people with addictions.

"If somebody gets sober, drug free or even free of behavioral addictions - however they get there I am totally good with it."

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